Dimensions of impact: implications of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) in elementary education
Children are coming to school with increasing rates of unaddressed social-emotional needs, along with challenges directly related to these needs. Essentially, these deficits make it necessary for schools to go beyond a sole focus on facilitating academic learning, and place a targeted focus on social-emotional learning (SEL). Research indicates a strong correlation between social-emotional learning, cognitive development and academic success, reinforcing the need for this intentional shift. The purpose of this project was to investigate how a teacher might integrate social-emotional learning and mindfulness strategies, and enhance children’s emotional intelligence, to improve the learning environment and experience of elementary students. I created a website, SEL4ED, as a social-emotional learning repository that can be used by educators, parents, and students alike. The feedback received about SEL and the SEL4ED site, indicated that educators recognize the importance of SEL for students, and want resources, tools, strategies, and ideas, so that they may best address these needs in a timely and effective manner. Growing evidence demonstrates that to promote a significant shift in social-emotional outcomes and academic achievement, districts, schools, and educators all need to value SEL instruction, and commit to its integration within the daily curriculum. This targeted focus is a critical factor in how we teach to the “whole child”. SEL4ED is designed to be a collaborative resource, and my hope is that educators will continue to contribute and share their ideas and experiences on the site. These contributions will help develop, grow, and enhance the repository, and support others in their endeavours to teach to both the hearts, and minds, of today’s students.